Haffey TA. How to Avoid a Heart Attack: Putting It All Together. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2010;110(7):397-400. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2010.110.7.397.
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“It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.” Mark Twain
“It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.”
Vitamin E has been proposed for the prevention or treatment of numerous health conditions, often based on its antioxidant properties. However, aside from the treatment of vitamin E deficiency (which is rare), there are no clearly proven medicinal uses of vitamin E supplementation beyond the recommended daily allowance.
In postmenopausal women with coronary disease, neither HRT [hormone replacement therapy] nor antioxidant vitamin supplements provide cardiovascular benefit. Instead, a potential for harm was suggested with each treatment.
Because the primary study outcome is neutral, I think we have to conclude that supplementation with high-dose folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 does not reduce major vascular events in a high-risk population with established vascular disease.
I think they're important, because we have been often derailed in our efforts to implement secondary prevention adequately, and the focus should be on what has been proven to work—namely, a healthy lifestyle with a good intake of fruits and vegetables, exercise, and, for those who already have had an event, certain drugs such as aspirin, statins, beta blockers, and ACE [angiotensin-converting enzyme] inhibitors, which have proven benefit.
The results of the NORVIT trial are important because they tell doctors that prescribing high doses of B vitamins will not prevent heart disease or stroke. B vitamins should be prescribed only to patients who have B vitamin deficiency diseases.
So far, no controlled treatment study has shown that folic acid supplements reduce the risk of atherosclerosis or that taking these vitamins affects the development or recurrence of cardiovascular disease.
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